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Research Room Procedures


  • All visitors are required to sign in and out at the Lobby desk.
  • Registration is required of all first-time users of original records at the Archives. The Researcher Registration Form and Researcher Agreement are available at the Lobby desk. The Researcher Registration Form is also online at under "Visit the Archives."
  • Children under 14 should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Appointments are required to access restricted items and select audio/visual material.
  • Research Room computers and Wi-Fi are available for reference purposes.


  • Laptops, tablets, digital cameras, cell phones, pencils, paper, and one folder/notebook of notes are permitted in the research room.
  • All other personal belongings must be placed in lockers or hung on coat racks in the Lobby, including:
        • Bags of any size (backpacks, purses, tote bags, laptop/camera bags)
        • Outerwear (overcoats, raincoats, blazers, sweaters, hats, gloves, umbrellas)
        • Personal copiers, scanners, tape recorders, or other recording devices
  • Indoor clothes, such as sweaters, sweatshirts, and vests, must be worn at all times or placed in a locker.
  • All personal belongings brought into the research room are subject to inspection.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the research room. A water fountain is available in the Lobby.
  • Under no circumstances are original materials to be removed from the research areas.  Pennsylvania law specifically punishes the theft of materials from libraries and archives.
  • Pens are not permitted in the Originals Area.

Use and Handling

  • A separate call slip must be completed for each carton, box, or loose volume of original material requested.
  • Original records must remain flat on the table or in a book cradle during use. Arms, elbows, and personal belongings should not be resting on the original records. 
  • Only one folder or volume should be open and on the desk at a time.
  • Do not rearrange materials. If you believe there is a problem with the arrangement, notify the Research Room attendant.
  • When an original record is available digitally or on digitized microfilm, researchers are required to consult those formats. If access to the original record is necessary, a request can be made to the Research Room attendant. Approval is at the discretion of authorized Archives staff.


  • Except for digitized microfilm, all photocopying and scanning is done by Archives staff and is at their discretion. Some material may not be suitable for copying due to their format, size or condition. The Archives reserves the right to refuse to copy such materials.
  • Non-flash photography is permitted.


Fair Use and Citation Elements

The State Archives does not own the copyright or the publication rights to every document in the collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and comply with any donor restrictions and with the Fair Use provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Citation Elements

Citations of records for at the State Archives should include as many of the following elements as possible:

Citation elementAs shown in the example below
1. Item titleHickory Ridge Colliery, January 1904-November 1904
2. Page, entry, or file numberp. 34
3. Series title and numberPay Roll Ledgers (Series #463m.1)
4. Record Group (RG) or Manuscript Group (MG) number and titleMG-463, Susquehanna Coal Company Records, 1901-1905
5. the words "Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg."Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg
  • Example:

Hickory Ridge Colliery, January 1904-November 1904, p. 34. Pay Roll Ledgers (Series #463m.1); MG-463, Susquehanna Coal Company Records, 1901-1905. Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg.